What are the essentials of a great waiting room experience in an outpatient setting?
We believe these actions are essential to a great waiting room experience and so we call them the five fundamentals of service:
- Acknowledge patient by name.
- Introduce yourself.
- Describe. Let the patient know how to make himself comfortable, and explain who will be calling for him.
- Explain delays so the patient understands why he must wait.
- Thank the patient for coming.
In addition, seek any questions the patient may have. Collecting them up front is a big win and saves time. Also, remember to update the patient every 15 minutes if there is a delay, explaining why and how much longer. You may also want to call the area the “patient reception area” to reduce focus on wait. Having refreshments available can make a big difference and is usually more important than having a television.
The last component is a pre-call. It reduces anxiety and helps the patient arrive well prepared for the clinical experience.